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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Serum-free spheroid culture of mouse corneal keratocytes.

PURPOSE: To develop a serum-free mass culture system for mouse keratocytes. METHODS: Corneas of C57BL6/J mice were enzyme digested after the epithelium and endothelium were removed. Stromal cells were cultured in serum-free DMEM/ F12 (1:1) containing epidermal growth factor (EGF), fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), and B27 supplement. Primary spheres were dissociated by trypsin and subcultured as suspended secondary spheres. Cells from postnatal day (P)6 to P10 spheres were subcultured onto plastic dishes or type I collagen gels for phenotype analysis. The expression of the keratocyte markers keratocan, aldehyde dehydrogenase (Aldh), and CD34, were analyzed by RT-PCR, and vimentin and alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) were examined by immunocytochemistry. RESULTS: Primary keratocytes formed spheres, which were cultured for over 12 passages. Suspended sphere cells expressed vimentin, keratocan, CD34, and lumican, but were negative for cytokeratin K12 ( K12) and Pax6. Sphere cells subcultured on plastic exhibited a dendritic morphology characteristic of keratocytes, and maintained keratocan, Aldh, and CD34 expression in serum-free medium. Sphere cells subcultured with 10% serum became fibroblastic, and expressed alpha-SMA when stimulated by transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta. alpha-SMA-positive cells demonstrated contractile properties on collagen gels, compatible with the myofibroblast phenotype. CONCLUSIONS: The phenotype of mouse keratocytes can be maintained in vitro for more than 12 passages by the serum-free sphere culturing technique.[1]


  1. Serum-free spheroid culture of mouse corneal keratocytes. Yoshida, S., Shimmura, S., Shimazaki, J., Shinozaki, N., Tsubota, K. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. (2005) [Pubmed]
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